Lampu Satu Beach in Merauke is a thriving hub for the local fisheries sector. Located on the shores of the Arafura Sea, with easy access to fish landing facilities and the Merauke Nusantara Fisheries Port (PPN), Lampu Satu has evolved over time from a remote fishing village into a bustling hub of commerce. But today the beach faces a number of serious challenges, especially regarding sedimentation leading to shoaling in the surf zone and significant changes in the coastline due to erosion.

Further inland via the Kumbe River is the densely populated Malind Subdistrict. Here, Kumbe Village is home to around 4,000 people, with the majority being non-Indigenous, or non-Native Papuans. Over half of Kumbe Village’s population work as farmers, while another 40 percent are fishermen and the remaining 10 percent are engaged in trading or other forms of employment. This village has substantial potential in the fisheries sector, boasting two of the largest fish sales depots in Merauke District. To harness this potential, community groups (particularly in Lampu Satu and Kumbe River) have been formed, with a focus on empowering women in coastal communities and generating additional income.

In response to these challenges and opportunities, the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2) Project partnered with the TAKA Foundation to conduct a comprehensive business feasibility study program, along with identification of fishery processed product potential and business planning. A direct visit to these communities facilitated engagement and laid the groundwork for targeted interventions.

Facilitators from TAKA Foundation and ATSEA-2 team give training to community in Lampu Satu and Kumbe Village

As part of this support, a training session was conducted on 7 November 2023 at Lampu Satu, and then continued in Kumbe Village on 8 November 2023. The sessions, attended by approximately 20 community representatives, were conducted at the Kalaju Lampu Satu Information Centre. Following this, TAKA field facilitators observed post-training developments from 15 to 23 November 2023. Participants were made up of TAKA staff, community representatives, and members of ATSEA-2.

Two groups that joined this training were the Eltimo Food Group in Lampu Satu and the Yanbui Group in Kumbe Village. According to information obtained in the field, both groups often face challenges in the development of their fisheries businesses. For the Lampu Satu group, issues encountered include licensing problems with BPOM (which will be assisted by TAKA); damage to cooling equipment for processed fish ball products; and incomplete testing of fish ball samples at BPOM Jayapura, such as heavy metal registration parameters for arsenic (As) and stannum (Sn), whereby the registration requirements must be below 5 for lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As) and stannum (Sn). As for the Kumbe group, issues include insufficient fish stocks for production, lack of cooling facilities for fish storage, the use of cold boxes that do not help the longevity of salted fish products, and current road construction hindering production.

Trainers provided materials on the grouping of fishery processing technologies, identification of the potential of processed
fishery products, and business planning

From the survey conducted by TAKA, it was found that in Lampu Satu, the Eltimo Food Group has implemented production standards and hygienic equipment and has regularly recorded administrative expenditures and incomes. Meanwhile, in Kumbe Village, the Yanbui group exhibits a strong commitment to increase production, even though the availability of fish stocks for processing into salted fish remains limited.

The training activities conducted in Lampu Satu and Kumbe River are expected to have a positive impact. Both groups showed enthusiasm for increasing production and developing a better understand of group administration. Despite facing various obstacles, the significant potential in both locations can continue to be developed with the right support. With collective efforts and support from various parties, Lampu Satu Beach and Kumbe Village have the chance to become competitive centres of Merauke’s fisheries sector in future.

By Johanis Valentino Fofied